Read-Along posts discuss a specific portion of The Lies of Locke Lamora and are therefore full of spoilers! I will do a usual review post once the book is complete.
This week, I've read from the Prologue up through the Interlude titled "Locke Stays for Dinner" (an event which is much more significant than it sounds!). I'm not sure what format I'll stick to for these discussions in the future, but for now I'll just list the discussion questions and my answers.
1. If this is your first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, what do you think of it so far? If this is a re-read for you, how does the book stand up to rereading?
This is my first time reading The Lies of Locke Lamora. I've heard many great things about this series, and I've been meaning to read it for a while. I'm glad to finally get started! I like it very much so far. I was afraid at first that Locke Lamora was going to be one of those perfectly skilled characters, who never encounter failure. However, right from the beginning, Locke is forced to face the consequences of his carelessness and inexperience. More than anything, I think that Locke is gifted with an abnormal amount of audaciousness, so he is willing to attempt wild schemes that would seem much too risky for an ordinary fellow.
2. At last count, I found three time lines: Locke as as a 20-something adult, Locke meeting Father Chains for the first time, and Locke as a younger child in Shades Hill. How are you doing with the Flashback within a flashback style of introducing characters and the world?
Everything has seemed pretty clear so far, so I don't mind the skipping back and forth in time. I was surprised that I was equally engaged in the story of Locke's childhood and his adulthood. Usually, when a novel splits the narrative like this, I find myself drawn strongly to one story over the others. In The Lies of Locke Lamora both Locke’s childhood and his adulthood hold their own secrets, and I am eager to see what happens next in both cases.
3. Speaking of the world, what do you think of Camorr and Lynch's world building?
So far, I love it. I don't yet know much of the world outside of Camorr, but I am really enjoying the level of detail lavished on Camorr. There's the orphan-thief city tunneled under a graveyard, the glowing glass, the canals, the elaborate illegal system that supports the society, and so much more. I also love the Gentleman Bastards and their lair. I think world building is incredibly important in a story about a con-artist, and so far everything is thorough, interesting, and internally consistent.
4. Father Chains and the death offering. . . quite the code of honor for thieves, isn't it? What kind of person do you think Chains is going to mold Locke into?
A Gentleman Bastard, of course! In the case of Locke's large death offerings, I think it was less about honor and more about cutting any murderous tendencies in the bud (even though Locke didn't mean to kill anyone). I think he wanted to beat into Locke's head that taking lives has, and should have, consequences, even if you get away with it.
5. It's been a while since I read this, and I'd forgotten how much of the beginning of the book is pure set up, for the characters, the plot, and the world. Generally speaking, do you prefer set up and world building done this way, or do you prefer to be thrown into the deep end with what's happening?
I’ve read a lot of really good books that go with “throwing the reader in the deep end”, but I actually prefer this approach. There’s enough character and plot that I’m definitely hooked, but I don’t have to spend my time memorizing references I don’t understand in hope that they’ll make sense later.
6. If you've already started attempting to pick the pockets of your family members (or even thought about it!) raise your hand.
I can't raise to that one. I’m one of those people who suffer from vicarious humiliation, so I’m really dreading the moment when the Salvara couple finds out they’ve been tricked. Characters like Locke stress me out, too, because you never know when they’re going to be found out in a lie. So for me, at least, the novel is giving me a firm feeling of “I could never do anything like that! Not ever!!”